Reshiram & Charizard-GX
– Unbroken Bonds
December 16, 2019
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Welcome, as we countdown the top 12 cards of 2019! Alternatively, our 12 Days of Christmas Countdown… even though we’re not actually writing or posting them on the 12 days of Christmas (December 25th through January 5th). If you’re new to Pojo, this article should help a bit. For those who can’t or won’t read it or just need a short refresher, we’re looking at what the review crew determined to be the “best” cards this year. We weren’t given strict guidelines, but Card of the Days give us a chance to explain why certain things were or were not picked. Just know that, barring exceptional circumstances, cards reprinted this year aren’t allowed.
12th-place is Reshiram & Charizard-GX (SM – Unbroken Bonds 20/214, 194/214, 217/214; SM – Black Star Promos SM201), a card we originally reviewed here. This TAG TEAM Pokémon card has a beefy 270 HP, a handy [R] Typing, iffy [W] Weakness, total lack of Resistance, and a chunky Retreat Cost of [CCC]. It has three attacks, the first of which is “Outrage” for [RC], doing 30 damage plus 10 per damage counter on itself. “Flare Strike” costs [RRRC] and does 230 but it can’t use this attack the next turn. The GX-attack is “Double Blaze-GX”, with a printed cost of [RRR+], because Double does 200 damage if you only have [RRR] attached, but if you have [RRRRRR] attached, then Double Blaze does 300 damage while ignoring effects on your opponent’s Active!
Reshiram & Charizard-GX quickly became one of the top decks in the Standard Format, owing to its impressive HP, good attacks, and natural synergy with Welder and (as it was still Standard-legal at the time) Kiawe. Flare Strike is the main attack the deck focuses on using; whether by alternating between two copies of Reshiram & Charizard-GX, or just do-si-doing a single, ready copy, 230 turn after turn is hard to deal with… though not as hard in the present, where it lacks as many readily available buffs. When you can amass the Energy, Double Blaze can wreck something whether it has massive HP, protection, or both. Outrage is very risky, but if you’re taking the final KO you need to win, or can otherwise afford your opponent finishing off Reshiram & Charizard-GX, it is nice and easy.
Why is it only number 12? Reshiram & Charizard-GX missed out on most of the first half of 2019, and while Reshiram & Charizard-GX decks are still strong, they aren’t dominating the way they did for the three months when they were the hot, new thing. It does help that a single Reshiram & Charizard-GX can be found in many Mewtwo & Mew-GX decks, but when I considered how many cards had been better as long or longer, and better in as many or more decks, I came up with more than 11. We’ve also had some [W] decks at least flirt with greatness, though a particular [W] attacker – Keldeo-GX – has also been a big deal.
It is kind of funny; when we were working on our Top 11 Cards of SM – Unbroken Bonds, I had this as 8th-place pick, low-balling it. It didn’t make the site’s Top 11 at all, though it would have taken 15th-place if we’d started the countdown high enough. This time it takes 12th-place, but I left it of my list. Some of the cards we put above it didn’t pan out, but some did… and we’ll see whether or not any of those cards show up later in this countdown. Not that I’m complaining; while something I wanted obviously didn’t make the countdown since Reshiram & Charizard-GX is here, it is still worth being in the Top 12.
Reshiram & Charizard-GX, the 12th best card of 2019, had made a name for themselves the moment they were released in Unbroken Bonds. They became an archetype for various decks to deal with because of what this card does and the cards that support that Pokémon, to the point that the deck didn’t really need other Pokémon besides a few such as Jirachi from Team Up it Volcanion from Unbroken Bonds. And they have been racking up finishes in major tournaments; Limitless is a good source of decklists that features more than dozens of archetypes.
Anyways, with a 270 HP with three attacks, it doesn’t seem to be anything out of the ordinary except for big numbers, big enough to cause OHKOs even against some TAG TEAM Pokémon at the time, though not so much now due to ever constant rotation. Outrage is a familiar attack that deals a lot of damage depending on how damage ReshiZard is; the more damage it accumulates, the more damage it deals. The damage starts with 30, and can max out at 290 damage if they have 10 HP remaining, and we haven’t factored damage boosting cards. However, because of that style, while you can apply maximum output to take someone out, you’re most likely be going down on your opponent’s turn.
Flare Strike is their second attack, dealing 230 damage, which falls short of OHKOing certain TAG TEAM Pokémon, even with Choice Band and Shrine of Punishment. But almost every other Pokémon that isn’t a TAG TEAM gets OHKOed by Flare Strike! Because of that, they can’t use it on their next turn unless you retreat or switch, ending the clause. Double Blaze does 200 damage, but it can do 100 damage and bypass certain effects placed on the Defending Pokémon. I assume that Keldeo-GX’s ability won’t help it if Double Blaze ignores such effects. 300 damage isn’t the overkill it once was, in fact it still fall short of OHKOs against Pokémon with HP increasing effects. Pokemon V-Max makes it out of Double Blaze’s range.
The attack costs of these attacks made me feel skeptical (RC, RRRC, RRR or RRRRRR), but Unbroken Bonds further provide couple fire based support. Welder lets you attach RR to them as well as drawing three cards. Fire Crystal replenishes three Fire energies. Heat Factory Prism Star is a discard one draw three effect. Fiery Flint fetches four Fire energies for you at the cost of two cards from your hand. Giant Hearth’s effect is half of that of Fiery Flint. ReshiZard could potentially get almost powered up by three Fire energies on your first turn (Welder & manual attachment)! Indirect support such as Green’s Exploration helps, as they possess no abilities. Volcanion’s Flare Starter could actually get ReshiZard fully loaded to use Flare Strike!
The change to turn one rules would hurt ReshiZard a little as the player cannot use any Supporters, but this is still a deck that sets up very, very fast, and even faster in Expanded when Max Elixir is present. The damage cap is also their Achilles Heel, and it makes both the GX and the non-GX versions of Blacephalon outclass them, except that they need sufficient energies on the board or hand to achieve limitless OHKOes. For the most part, ReshiZard will continue to maintain a serious presence in the format. It is a good pull in Limited, and even better if you also pulled Welder.
Once again we’re back with another one of our INFAMOUS TOP X LISTS!!! Although this time we’ve bumped up the tally to a Top 12. You know, like the 12 Days of Christmas! Or the 12 days we have left until the start of the new year, excluding weekends! Crazy right?
There were a lot of powerful and impactful cards throughout the year – special mentions go to Pikachu & Zekrom-GX and Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX, who were pretty close to making it in but got beat out by a few other picks. And considering we’re talking about powerful cards from throughout the year, it’s no surprise that those with long-staying power and influence would etch out over some of the other recent picks from Cosmic Eclipse. Which says a lot about Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX, but I will say I’m surprised that Pikachu & Zekrom-GX didn’t quite get in, considering it’s still one of the most popular deck archetypes in today’s game.
That said, it shouldn’t be a surprise that it got beat out by Reshiram & Charizard-GX, who just manages to make it to #12. Truth be told, these two have been dominant for a long time, ever since their release in Unbroken Bonds. Outrage is just the kind of attack that gets stronger and stronger, Flare Strike is a blow-out one-shot, and if you really needed to get rid of something, Double Blaze-GX would once per game completely wipe out a card! Combined with extremely powerful support like Welder and Giant Hearth, it’s no wonder they’ve been so powerful.
Naturally making it to the top of the list isn’t easy, and if you can imagine that our #12 is something so powerful, just imagine what other cards managed to climb higher!
Standard: 5/5 (a supremely powerful card that’s gotten major support)
Expanded: 5/5 (…I feel like I’m just gonna do this for every card in the list)
Limited: 5/5 (like you’d ever underestimate it here)
Arora Notealus: I figure that this time, instead of just talking about the cards – cause let’s face it, we know all about those by now – I’d express my 12 Wishes for Next Year! Not like in general wishes, but more specific towards Pokemon and the like, and also not in any particular order. I’ve already seen a bit of new stuff for this crazy mechanic of I guess Pokemon-V, so my first wish is that we don’t leave Evolution Pokemon out of the mix. Pokemon-GX were great to help promote evolution-based decks, and I think that if the trend continues with Pokemon-V and VMAX, that would be great! Pokemon VMAX look like a step in the “right” direction for Evolutions, but let’s not leave the others out.
Next Time: Always make sure you’ve got the right gear!
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